- The twin brothers of Ponnivala are now sixteen years of age.
They were born when their parents were already middle aged. The
couple are now becoming quite old. Understandably, Tamarai is
starting to worry about her sons’ marriages.
- As a mother, Tamarai dreams of this grand event regularly.
She wants to see her sons’ weddings completed before she and her
husband pass on.
- Ponnar kneels before his mother, explaining gently that he
and his twin brother are not yet ready to marry. But their mother
is insistent that her sons wed a set of sisters in a joint ceremony.
These two girls are close relatives, brides-to-be their mother
chose for them long ago. The brothers finally agree but set one
very stiff condition. They will never touch their wives, either
during the ceremony or at any time thereafter!
- All the arrangements are made. Two palanquins set off for
the wedding. Oddly, it will be celebrated in a sort of
no-mans-land. This is similar to the location selected for the
twins’ parents’ own wedding many years earlier. Only Ponnar,
the more passive and compliant brother, travels with the family
entourage. He and his sister Tangal share a palanquin while their
parents sit in the lead sedan. Shankar stays back at the palace
saying that he will follow at a later point.
- The Brahman priest is at the wedding sit already. He takes
Ponnar, the “elder” twin, through the preliminary rituals. The
family agrees that this one brother will be the stand-in for both
men, at least for now.
- A key part of the wedding preliminaries in the Ponnivala
region is a ceremony that recognizes the lasting bond that will
continue to exist between brother and sister, even after the
marriage. Ponnar and Tangal walk around the ritual fire together to
celebrate this idea. They jointly hold a sari between them, under
their right arms. The sister also carries a number of key items to
be given to the bride in a winnowing basket resting on her head.
These rituals are intended to symbolize the hopeful vision family
members share of another wedding in the distant future, one between
the groom’s yet-to-be-born daughter and his sister’s
- Meanwhile, back at the palace, Shankar has finally dressed up
in his wedding silks. He is about to mount his beloved blue-black
horse, Nila, which his faithful assistant has brought to the front
- Shankar sets off at a fast gallop for the wedding site. His
with his supernaturally talented assistant Shambuga runs behind him
at lightning speed.
- The way is rocky and dangerous but Shankar has no fear. He
loves riding his beautiful blue-black horse! At some points he
feels like he is about to fly!
- Shankar arrives and enters the wedding arena where he sits
down beside his “elder” twin. The brides are seated next to
these two men for the key ritual where they will worship the sacrred
fire the Brahman priest has already lit.
- Next the two grooms tie wedding necklaces on their brides.
There is a curtain between them to symbolize their modesty during
this key symbolic event. You can see by their eyes, however, that
both girls are quite frightened of what the future may hold for
- As soon as the central wedding moment is over Shankar leaves the ritual space and calls Shambuga to bring his horse. He leaves instructions with this loyal assistant to take the two brides to the small palace home where they will live out their lives together. Then he leaves without saying as much as one word to his new wife.
- The two brides are asked to climb into one of the family
palanquins and servants carry them to a place near their new home
that Shankar has designated.
- When the two women dismount Shambuga greets them and orders
the two ladies to follow him.
- After the wedding life in the kingdom of Ponnivala continues
on as before. The twin brothers worship their family goddess three
times each day and the lands around them prosper.
- But there are already signs that these two young heirs to
their father’s powerful kingdom are choosing a different life
style from the one their parents have followed. There is a gaming
room in the palace and these two young heroes soon become addicted
to playing dice. They love the idea of danger. They seek adventure
and wish to live life on the edge. Their swords are always at their
sides. Indeed, every time they choose to play dice something
serious and challenging happens in the wider world… something that
will provide them with a fresh and fearful challenge!